Results tagged ‘ Luis Atilano ’

Day 6 in Viera: A Closer Look at the 2011 Outfield

brief preface: my name is John Dever and I have the pleasure of being the PR
Director for your Nationals. With the assistance of Mike Gazda and Bill Gluvna,
here are a few vignettes and observations gathered from around camp today:

* Many folks have drawn parallels between the careers of Jayson Werth and
Michael Morse. Both are listed as 6-foot-5 and possess wiry strength that is
not a given with long-armed players. How does the 29-year-old Morse stay fit?
He trains for the NFL Combine. Almost literally. He trains at the Bommarito
Performance Systems facility in Miami with a bunch of Miami Hurricane NFL draft
prospects. Lots of running, lots of lifting. Those of you who have stood next
to Morse know that he could pass as an outside linebacker or tight end. He
might weigh 25 pounds less than those guys, but my guess is that he did not
embarrass himself in those workouts.

* We wrote yesterday about the Nationals’ three-shortstop defense (Desmond,
Espinosa and Zimmerman all have spent considerable portions of their playing
career playing shortstop). Well, let’s expand on the notion, but in the
outfield. There is a very good chance that you will see a 3-center fielder
alignment this summer in DC. Nyjer Morgan is a center fielder last time I
checked. In right field, we have Jayson Werth, who many believe could do a fine
job patrolling CF on a daily basis, if given the opportunity. Meanwhile, Roger
Bernadina, Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse are vying for playing time in left
field. Bernadina and Ankiel have extensive experience in center field. So the underlying
point is, the potential of an Ankiel/Bernadina-Morgan-Werth alignment in the
outfield will severely shrink the gaps and make our pitching staff that much
better. Oh, and we still have a 13-time Gold Glover behind the plate. If you
like defense, I have a feeling we have just what you are looking for.

* Congrats to Chien-Ming Wang, who ran the mile in 6:58, tops among 28 pitchers
to be timed this week. Wang, who stands 6-foot-4, is a big guy, so it is pretty
impressive that he was able to turn in a sub-seven-minute mile. Other
noteworthy times turned in came from Cole Kimball (6:59), Jason Marquis (7:00),
Josh Wilke (7:07), Adam Carr (7:26)  and John Lannan (7:30). By the way,
in my estimation, these guys ran a tad further than a mile, as they did four
laps around the warning track of a Big League field. There is ample foul
territory too. I have always thought that a lap around the average Big League
field is a bit longer than a run around a 1/4-mile track.

* Transaction News today: RHP Luis Atilano cleared waivers and was assigned
outright to Triple-A Syracuse. Atilano will now report immediately to the
Nationals’ Big League camp.

* I asked Stephen Strasburg what he did with the ball from his lone hit last
season, a June 23 single off the Royals’ Brian Banister. The back story was not
legendary, he still has the ball at his house, but Strasburg did perk up a bit
and smile at the memory. There was irony in the hit’s location too, as it was a
well-hit grounder through the 5.5 hole, which is primarily where Tony Gwynn
made a living and earned a spot in Cooperstown. Gwynn was of course Strasburg’s
head coach at San Diego State.

* Danny Espinosa had his hook of hamate bone removed from his right hand around
Thanksgiving. Don’t look for this injury to hinder Espinosa, who says his grip
strength in the right hand is already stronger than it was last season, when he
was one of three Minor Leaguers to reach the 20-homer, 20-stolen base plateau.
I can assure you that Espinosa would pass any “handshake” test. So, don’t be
worried about his hamate bone affecting his offense in 2011 or beyond.

* Let’s launch a new feature called Four Questions with _______. Our intent
here is to introduce you to a player you might not know too much about. So,
Ryan Zimmerman and John Lannan will likely be spared. Today’s initial victim subject is
RHP Cole Kimball (who is the Nationals’ No. 7 prospect per Baseball America
entering the 2011 season).

Favorite Team/Player as a Youth?: Yankees, Don Mattingly
Favorite Game Show of all-time?: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Favorite Superhero?: Spider-Man
Most apt to watch CNN, Food Network or Travel Channel (and list favorite
None. I do watch the Discovery Channel a lot. Favorite show is “Deadliest

* LOTS of fog this morning, but it burned off around 9 a.m. and it set the
stage for another beautiful day. According to,
here are the highs we can expect this week (Mon-80, Tue-77, Wed-72, Thu-75,
Fri-76, Sat-76, Sun-77). No rain between now and Thursday! If you are not here,
you are missing out. Enough said.

On the seventh day of Strasmas…

Patriotic Stephen Strasburg.jpgStephen Strasburg is back on the mound and that means tonight’s game will be a hot ticket at Nationals Park, literally and figuratively. It won’t be 99 degrees at first pitch like it was on Tuesday night but it will be in the high 80s. Since temperature is always relative it feels like a fall day right now. This will be the fifth start at Nationals Park for Strasburg and he has single-handedly sold out the park in three of the four games. The lone game that wasn’t sold out had a paid attendance of 31,913. There were two factors in play for that game a) the Kansas City Royals were in town b) it was a 4:35 p.m. start time on a Wednesday.


Strasburg is 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA with 53 strikeouts in six starts. He is coming off the shortest Major League outing of his young career: 5.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts against the Mets on July 3. He struggled with his command in the first inning and allowed one run and issued three walks on 37 pitches–two on full counts. He limited the damage and got Jeff Francoeur to fly out to center with the bases loaded.


“I’ve learned that it’s going to take a few times just to get comfortable, get experience, to learn how to get a game plan for certain people,” Strasburg said. “Bottom line, I’m just enjoying this ride here and not really putting too many expectations on myself and whatever happens, happens.”


 Two things to keep in mind:

*Strasburg has received limited run support to the tune of a 2.70 runs per game average.

*Of the 557 pitches Strasburg has thrown, 33 percent of the time the batters have swung (267) and missed (88). Among active starters that is the highest percentage. Note: It might not be the fairest comparison. Strasburg has thrown 719 fewer pitches than the Rockies Jhoulys Chacin who is second with 28.7 percent swing and misses.




Giants (45-40):

1.    Andres Torres – CF

2.    Freddy Sanchez – 2B

3.    Aubrey Huff – RF

4.    Pat Burrell – LF

5.    Buster Posey – C

6.    Pablo Sandoval – 3B

7.    Travis Ishikawa – 1B

8.    Edgar Renteria – SS

9.    Matt Cain – SP (6-7, 2.98 ERA)

*According to Elias Sports Bureau, Aubrey Huff–who had two hits, including a home run, in the Giants’ 9-3 win at Milwaukee last night–has recorded at least one extra-base hit in each of his last seven games. This equals the longest extra-base streaks in the Majors this season–accomplished by Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Troy Tulowitzki, and Delmon Young.

Nationals (38-48):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Roger Bernadina – RF

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Christian Guzman – SS

6.      Willie Harris – LF

7.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Stephen Strasburg – SP (2-2, 2.45 ERA)

*Washington has surrendered a first-inning run in eight straight games, the longest such streak in the Major Leagues this season. The Nationals are 4-4 in those contests, however.

Luis Atilano optioned to Triple-A Syracuse: The Nats optioned right-handed pitcher Luis Atilano to Syracuse today. Atilano went 6-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 15 starts for the Nationals. The 25 year-old rookie took the loss in Thursday’s 7-1 setback vs. San Diego, allowing four runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.

Luis Atilano makes his Major League debut and lineups

The Nationals open a three-game series against the Dodgers tonight. Luis Atilano will make his MLB debut as the starting pitcher, in place of Jason Marquis who was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Atilano was called up from Triple-A Syracuse earlier today and last pitched on Sunday. He went 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two starts at Syracuse.

“Atilano is the hottest guy up there and he really threw well in Spring Training,” GM Mike Rizzo said. “He is on the same rotation as Jason, so we don’t have to move anybody up or back. It’s a smooth transition with him. Plus, he is the guy who deserves the start on Friday out of the guys from Triple-A. We are comfortable with it and that is our short-term solution. We’ll see what happens in the long term.”

Dodgers (7-8):

1.      Rafael Furcal – SS

2.      Garret Anderson – LF

3.      Andre Ethier – RF

4.      Matt Kemp – CF

5.      James Loney – 1B

6.      Ronnie Belliard – 3B

7.      Blake DeWitt – 2B

8.      A.J. Ellis – C

9.      Charlie Haeger – SP (0-1. 7.20 ERA)

*Wednesday night the Dodgers scored in eight of nine innings, only coming up empty in the fourth frame. According to Dave Smith of, that ties a franchise record also established on three other occasions. A team has scored in all nine innings just three times in history, most recently in 1999 when the Rockies did it to the Cubs at Wrigley.

* Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp leads the Major Leagues with 20 runs scored and is tied for the Big League lead in home runs (7) and RBI (20).


 Nationals (8-8):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

3.      Cristian Guzman – SS

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Willie Harris – 3B

8.      Justin Maxwell – RF

9.    Luis Atilano – SP (MLB Debut)

*The Nationals are 5-3 in their last eight games despite playing the Rockies (defending NL Wild Card winner), Brewers (rank 2nd in MLB in runs scored) and Phillies (defending NL Champions).

*The Nationals are tied for the NL lead having been charged with just three unearned runs this season, while last year–through 16 games–Washington had been burdened by 13 unearned runs.

*Ivan Rodriguez enters play tonight tied with the Royals Scott Podsednik for the MLB lead in batting average. Rodriguez is hitting .449 (22-for-49) with 7 doubles and 8 RBI to date.